Allergies affect an estimated 10% of Americans, not including those with asthma. Residents of Texas are particularly affected by allergies—in fact, some of Texas’s most famous cities, such as Austin and Dallas, rank among the top worst for allergy sufferers in the nation! So if you feel like you’re allergic to Texas, you’re not alone. That said, when is allergy season in Texas? Well, some times of the year are worse for allergy sufferers than others. Here’s everything you need to know about allergy seasons in Texas.
Like many other parts of the nation, residents of Texas suffer the effects of ragweed in late summer stretching through fall. Ragweed, the notoriously powerful plant responsible for allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, can spread its fine yellow pollen up to hundreds of miles away. In more temperate regions of Texas, where the weather stays mild, ragweed season is much worse. Ragweed is very resilient and grows all over, with a single plant able to produce up to one BILLION grains of pollen per season.
Allergy-sufferers in other parts of the country get some reprieve in winter, when ragweed plants have died out. but Texans have no such luck. In fact, winter is the worst allergy season in Texas, because winter means cedar fever! Cedar fever is the colloquial term given to allergies caused by Texas’s mountain cedar trees, also known as Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei).
Many cities, particularly Austin, find themselves cloaked in sheets of fine pollen, and even those who don’t otherwise suffer from allergies find themselves reacting to cedar fever. Cedar pollen can cause intense allergy symptoms, sometimes feeling just like the flu.
Another concern in winter are indoor allergies caused by dust, mold, and pet dander. In colder months, people spend more time indoors, where re-circulated air is the norm. This dry air contributes to allergy symptoms and circulates allergens.
Spring is a common time for allergies nationwide. As nature bursts forth in the form of flowers, trees and weeds, so does pollen. In Texas, oak pollen is the worst spring offender, followed by ash, elm, pecan, and cottonwood pollen. These trees and other plants contribute to allergic reactions that are sometimes called “hay fever.” Certain parts of Texas also have agricultural and industrial waste to deal with—smoke from large-scale agricultural burning and other ventures may worsen allergies.
Grasses provide the predominant pollen in summer. The most common offending grasses include Timothy, Bermuda, Bahia, Orchard, Sweet vernal, Red top and a small variety of blue grasses. These grasses typically grow in abandoned areas, medians, and on the sides of roads and empty lots. Grass pollen is very light and can travel many miles away on the wind. Well-manicured grass and lawns typically don’t cause allergic reactions, especially as the most common decorative grass in Texas, St.
Augustine, is non-allergenic. However, lawn mowers may kick up dust and other allergens that can cause reactions. Another problem in summer is mold. Increased humidity after rain provides the perfect environment for mold spores to grow and propagate. Mold can be found both indoors and out, so it is important to be vigilant and eliminate any potential for mold wherever there is moisture (standing water, water leaks, etc.).